loading Loading please wait....

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.


A scant couple of months downstream of this writing- Cessna Aircraft Co. expects to add yet another Citation to its extensive range of business jets.

The Citation CJ3 business jet for sale- when it enters deliveries later in the year- will round out what amounts to a product line within a product line – one built on the complementary philosophies of economy- efficiency- and sophistication balanced against simplicity sufficient to keep the aircraft a single-pilot ship.

Dave Higdon   |   1st March 2004
Back to articles
Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
Read More

Cessna’s third CJ - the biggest- fastest CJ ever.

A scant couple of months downstream of this writing- Cessna Aircraft Co. expects to add yet another Citation to its extensive range of business jets.

The Citation CJ3 business jet for sale- when it enters deliveries later in the year- will round out what amounts to a product line within a product line – one built on the complementary philosophies of economy- efficiency- and sophistication balanced against simplicity sufficient to keep the aircraft a single-pilot ship.

These traits proved successful even before the first CitationJet flew its first flight back in the spring of 1991. When launched at the 1989 National Business Aviation Association convention- the CitationJet garnered more advance orders during the three days of the convention than any other business jet in history.

In the years since- CitationJet sales have consistently kept the little jet among the top performers in Cessna’s ever-evolving line of Citation business jets.

Indeed- as often happens- prospects and owners alike wanted more – more of all that made the CitationJet a winner… but with a bit more speed and space. Such was the catalyst behind the creation of a follow-on model and the renaming of the line to CJ- dubbed the CJ1 and the larger- faster CJ2. Again- all went well for the expanded line- thanks to incremental improvements incorporated into the line.

Then came NBAA 2002 in Orlando. That September Cessna did it again- adding a third CitationJet – called- of course- the CJ3. While most of the headlines and convention-hall chatter centered on Cessna’s other model announcement – the groundbreaking Mustang that we profiled previously within these pages – the CJ3 more than held its own in the marketplace of public opinion and buyer acceptance.

Grown by demand:
Once a single-pilot model- always a single-pilot model - at least- where the CitationJet line stands that is the case. Cessna managed to further expand on the capabilities tradition-bound as CJ strengths- without detracting from any of the traits that make the family such strong sellers.

The CJ3’s improvements are a hat trick of fliers’ favorite traits: Cabin size- range and speed. These gains come at no expense to the CJ3’s short-runway capabilities- simplicity and frugality. Most importantly- the CJ3 retains the harmonious flying traits of the original CitationJet that underpin the ease of managing any of the line single-pilot.

A little longer fuselage- a little more span and a boost in thrust make a winning combination for a super-sized CJ that still works like a CitationJet.

By sticking to the roots of the CitationJet’s success- Cessna has grown a family without parallel in the realm of business jets.

Power for the CJ3 still comes from Williams International’s FJ44 family of engines- a powerplant that received its commercial debut on the original CitationJet nearly 15 years ago. The engine maker- itself building on success of this simple- reliable- frugal powerplant- grew the FJ44 to the FJ44-2C for the CJ2- then into the FJ44-3A for the CJ3.

Instead of the 1-900 pounds of thrust the FJ44-1 makes for the CitationJet/CJ1 jet aircraft for sale- the FJ44-3A runs at a flat-rated maximum thrust of 2-780 pounds- well below the 3-000-pounds plus when operated near its thermodynamic limit. Yet- the more powerful –3A version runs at a lower turbine-inlet temperature than the lower-thrust model. At this rating the FJ44-3A provides a gain in take-off thrust of 14 percent compared to the FJ44-2C installed on the CJ2 and a whopping 43 percent above that made by the version flying on the Citation CJ1 business jet aircraft for sale.

Clearly- Williams did more than increase pressure ratios and fuel flow to make an engine of the same basic core produce more power at lower operating temperatures. In fact- the FJ44-3A possesses the thermodynamic ability to generate thrust well in excess if 3-000 pounds.

Thanks to the lower flat rating- the little engines retain their ability to make full power at temperatures and elevations well above Sea Level – while enjoying an operating margin that should enhance longevity and reliability. However- this is still the same basic powerplant – with a full dual-channel FADEC control architecture – as the Williams engine installed on hundreds of CitationJets.

Commonality continued:
The CJ3 employs the same cross section as its smaller siblings- a cabin measuring 4ft- 9ins tall and 4ft- 8ins wide- but at 20ft- 10ins long between the pressure bulkheads- the CJ3 outdistances the CJ2 by an even two feet; the 51ft- 11ins wingspan also beats the CJ2 jet aircraft for sale- by 2ft- 5ins.

Comparatively- the CJ1 sports a cabin 15 feet long between the pressure bulkheads- a wing 46ft- 10ins in span- and a gross weight of 10-600 pounds. Additionally- the original CJ cruises at a maximum of 380 knots and offers a maximum IFR range of 1-475 miles.

Clearly- the CJ3 is a brawnier bird than the original. That’s why the CJ3 sports so much more power than the original. Indeed- these engines give the CJ3 a strong combination of power- speed and flexibility. The CJ3 delivers speeds of up to 417 knots (479 mph) at FL330 (33-000 msl) and the ability to climb directly to its service ceiling of FL450 (45-000 msl) in just over 35 minutes – at its gross weight of 13-870 pounds.

Carrying six people and baggage- the CJ3 delivers a range of 1-771 nautical miles with NBAA IFR reserves; for a VFR flight- the range grows to 1-900 nautical. Those six can be the pilot and five friends- or a two-person crew and four in back – a cabin more than capable of handling either mix with the CJ3’s standard six-place- center-club seating configuration.

Yet- regardless of where the group wants to go- the odds are that the CJ3 can use the airport- thanks to the combination of more power and a longer wing. Cessna’s engineers succeeded in advancing the size- speed and reach of the CJ3- without sacrificing its small-airport advantage or its single-pilot friendliness.

At gross weight- the CJ3 needs less than 3-500 feet of runway from which to operate – and down as low as 2-600 feet at 11-000 pounds. At its gross weight- the CJ1 requires as much as 3-280 feet of runway- or as little as 2-300 at 9-000 pounds.

Power to the (single) pilot:
Cessna’s successful focus on the needs of the single IFR pilot provides the foundation for another common trait of the CitationJet family; its universal acceptance as a single-pilot jet within the skill requirements of the serious single-handing IFR pilot.

Cessna introduced the single-pilot focus on the original Citation of more than 30 years ago but the jets developed downstream from the original Citation generally required two pilots on the flight deck. That is until Cessna resumed its focus on providing a jet within the reach of an owner/pilot with solid flying skills and the finances to justify a jet.

That focus meant designing the original CitationJet with single-pilot IFR in mind at every step – cockpit design- panel layout- flight-management demands and aircraft handling.

That is why so much of the credit for the continued single-pilot status belongs to the CJ line’s inherently pilot-friendly flying traits. In many ways the CJ1 flies much like a Cessna 182 Skylane single engine airplane for sale- albeit at somewhat higher speeds - just as you might expect considering the CJ3’s 418-knot capabilities.

Nonetheless- at the other end of the speed range- the CJ3 falls right into line with its two smaller siblings with a maximum gross-weight stall speed of 86 knots- identical to the stall speed of the CJ1.

The biggest differences between landing distances of the three CJ models basically come down to weight – and even then- the differences are small.

Perhaps the most significant change to the CJ line over its existence falls to the panel- where design and placement from the start contributed to the CitationJet’s single-pilot credentials. Today- in place of the mostly conventional panel used 14 years ago- the entire CJ line enjoys even better single-pilot abilities thanks to Collins’ advanced Pro Line 21 all-electronic flight deck.

Pro Line 21 provides the pilot with a fully integrated digital avionics suite that represents the most-advanced package ever offered in this class of aircraft. Here- too- the little jet benefits from the evolution of the past decade toward solid-state panels and electronic flight instruments. The system sports three portrait-oriented active-matrix liquid-crystal displays- one in front of each control yoke- the third just to the right of the pilot’s primary flight display.

Together- these redundant units provide the pilot color weather radar- color displays for the HSI- ADI and hazard-avoidance displays. Feeding the system is a series of solid-state sensors for air data- while solid-state controls allow seamless frequency input for the communications and navigation radios.

Lending a helpful- highly capable hand to the flight crew - whether a single pilot or two - is a Bendix/King Flight-Management System.

Consolidating all primary flight- navigation- engine and sensor data in large- easy-to-scan LCD displays- Pro Line 21 serves to greatly reduce pilot workload and improve situational awareness – both especially critical to the single IFR pilot plying the Flight Levels at more than 450mph.

Getting places- fast:
Scarcely six months after Cessna executives pulled the wraps off the CJ3 mock-up at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando- the experimental flight-test crew put the first prototype CJ3 through its first paces over the skies around Wichita.

First engine run and taxi tests of the CJ3 prototype came in mid-March 2003- at Cessna Field- a strip devoted to the prototype shop and Pawnee Plant located adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base in east Wichita.

A few weeks later- in April 2003- Cessna’s staff launched the CJ3 on its maiden flight- and the program was officially on the wing.

As of October 2003- all three test articles had joined the flight-test effort and actual certification flights had begun. With the original prototype as well as production units 1 and 2 working- Cessna’s experimental flight-test crew continued to move the program ahead toward a type certificate expected in the second quarter of this year.

From announced launch to first flight in seven months- then another six months to have all three test beds flying – and have started certification flights… if not a record- a tremendous pace.

Of course- this may prove to be the upper limit of the CitationJet’s potential; an even-larger CJ4 would encroach on Cessna’s strong-selling Citation Bravo. Indeed- Cessna already has its sights set on the market beneath the CJ line – yet another single-pilot jet in the Citation Mustang.

At the time of press Cessna’s first Citation CJ3 manufactured on the production line rolled out at the company’s Wichita facilities.

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles